what I do

what I do

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Using your space wisely

Years ago before I designed for a living, we decided we needed to add some space to our home. Our girls were getting older and my oldest daughter needed a place where she could bring friends over without them being in her bedroom. We had the no-boys-in-the-bedroom-ever rule.

Designer Rebecca Ascher / Photographer Roger Davies via

I knew what I wanted and thought I could design it myself but then I got stuck. I wanted to relocate our front door but by doing that it would eliminate our ability to have a formal entry and I didn't like the idea of walking directly into the living room from the street. I brought in an architect to give me some ideas. 

Designer James Huniford / Photographer Pierter Estersohn via

He added a gated courtyard to the front of our house which gave the feel of formal entry. It was the perfect solution. But while he was there he had quite a few other things to say about the part of my house I was not planning on changing. He did not like the way our house flowed and where the girl's bathroom was situated. Neither bothered me ... that is until he pointed it out. We made the corrections as he suggested and it was amazing the difference it made. 

 Photographer: Roger Davies via

Sometimes we are just too close to a problem and we don't even realize it is there. That is what is nice about having someone come in with fresh eyes to look at your home ... someone that isn't emotionally tied into the way it has always been but can see it for what it is.

Photographer: William Waldron via

That is what happened this week when I went for a consult with a client who wanted to refreshen her living room. As we discussed the problems with the living room (no one uses it, it doesn't feel comfortable...) it was mentioned that they rarely entertain unless it is during the summer months when they can use their outdoor space. 

Designer Lee Mindel / Photographer William Abranowicz via

Photographer: William Waldron via

The client felt the problem was the living room. They have a lovely family room right off the backyard where they have a beautiful pool, outdoor dining area and patio and that is where they spend most of their time. The living room doesn't get much use. In between the living room and kitchen is a small dining room - the only room left of  the house's original footprint before it was remodeled. There is no room for a sideboard or any other furniture besides the table and chairs so it is not the ideal place to bring in dinner party guests.

Meg Ryan's vineyard beach house via. Photographer: William Waldron

I sat there looking at that large and un-used living room right next to that tiny dining room and decided that they should be switched. My idea is to turn the living room into a lovely new dining room with plenty of space to entertain, with large wing back dining chairs flanking the ends of their existing table, a new settee on one side and plenty of room left for a large sideboard. The smaller dining room space will be turned into a sitting area for reading the paper and enjoying a cup of coffee in the mornings with a view of the beautiful backyard. 

Photographer (and homeowner) Reed Krakoff via

Designer Susan Chalom / Photographer Josua McHugh via

My client was a very good sport and we moved the the furniture around to see how it would feel. She loved it. But the true test was ... would her husband go for it? 

Designer Richard Mishaan / Photographer Eric Piasecki via

He did. That is my newest project. Soooo excited!


Marianne said...

I love this! I don't think a lot of people realize that it can be as simple as changing a rooms purpose to make a house more functional. Sounds like a great project!

Stephanie said...

First of all, the pictures you used in the post are all to die for! I had a hard time concentrating on the text because the pictures were so gorgeous LOL But I am with ya, that is what I hear all the time "I would of never of thought of that!" You know when you hear that saying you are doing your job well. Sometime you just have to think outside the box. Something a good designer does best.